Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Things Fall Apart (Everyman's Library)

Things Fall Apart (Everyman's Library)

3.7 408
by Chinua Achebe, Kwame Anthony Appiah (Introduction)

See All Formats & Editions

THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the


THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Chinua Achebe
“A magical writer—one of the greatest of the twentieth century.” —Margaret Atwood
“African literature is incomplete and unthinkable without the works of Chinua Achebe.” —Toni Morrison                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
“Chinua Achebe is gloriously gifted with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent.” —Nadine Gordimer
“Achebe’s influence should go on and on . . . teaching and reminding that all humankind is one.” —The Nation
“The father of African literature in the English language and undoubtedly one of the most important writers of the second half of the twentieth century.” —Caryl Phillips, The Observer
“We are indebted to Achebe for reminding us that art has social and moral dimension—a truth often obscured.” —Chicago Tribune
“He is one of the few writers of our time who has touched us with a code of values that will never be ironic.” —Michael Ondaatje
“For so many readers around the world, it is Chinua Achebe who opened up the magic casements of African fiction.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah
“[Achebe] is one of world literature’s great humane voices.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Achebe is one of the most distinguished artists to emerge from the West African cultural renaissance of the post-war world.” —The Sunday Times (London)
“[Achebe is] a powerful voice for cultural decolonization.” —The Village Voice
“Chinua Achebe has shown that a mind that observes clearly but feels deeply enough to afford laughter may be more wise than all the politicians and journalists.” —Time
“The power and majesty of Chinua Achebe’s work has, literally, opened the world to generations of readers. He is an ambassador of art, and a profound recorder of the human condition.” —Michael Dorris
The Readers Catalog
Achebe's most famous novel brilliantly portrays the impact of colonialism on a traditional Nigerian village at the turn of the century. Its hero, Obi Okonkwo, epitomizes both the nobility and the rigidity of the traditional culture.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Everyman's Library
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.31(h) x 0.71(d)
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat. Amalinze was the great wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umuofia to Mbaino. He was called the Cat because his back would never touch the earth. It was this man that Okonkwo threw in a fight which the old men agreed was one of the fiercest since the founder of their town engaged a spirit of the wild for seven days and seven nights.

The drums beat and the flutes sang and the spectators held their breath. Amalinze was a wily craftsman, but Okonkwo was as slippery as a fish in water. Every nerve and every muscle stood out on their arms, on their backs and their thighs, and one almost heard them stretching to breaking point. In the end, Okonkwo threw the Cat.

That was many years ago, twenty years or more, and during this time Okonkwo's fame had grown like a bush-fire in the harmattan. He was tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and wide nose gave him a very severe look. He breathed heavily, and it was said that, when he slept, his wives and children in their houses could hear him breathe. When he walked, his heels hardly touched the ground and he seemed to walk on springs, as if he was going to pounce on somebody. And he did pounce on people quite often. He had a slight stammer and whenever he was angry and could not get his words out quickly enough, he would use his fists. He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had had no patience with his father.

Unoka, for that was his father's name, had died ten years ago. In his day he was lazy and improvident and was quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow. If any money came his way, and it seldom did, he immediately bought gourds of palm-wine, called round his neighbors and made merry. He always said that whenever he saw a dead man's mouth he saw the folly of not eating what one had in one's lifetime. Unoka was, of course, a debtor, and he owed every neighbor some money, from a few cowries to quite substantial amounts.

He was tall but very thin and had a slight stoop. He wore a haggard and mournful look except when he was drinking or playing on his flute. He was very good on his flute, and his happiest moments were the two or three moons after the harvest when the village musicians brought down their instruments, hung above the fireplace. Unoka would play with them, his face beaming with blessedness and peace. Sometimes another village would ask Unoka's band and their dancing egwugwu to come and stay with them and teach them their tunes. They would go to such hosts for as long as three or four markets, making music and feasting. Unoka loved the good fare and the good fellowship, and he loved this season of the year, when the rains had stopped and the sun rose every morning with dazzling beauty. And it was not too hot either, because the cold and dry harmattan wind was blowing down from the north. Some years the harmattan was very severe and a dense haze hung on the atmosphere. Old men and children would then sit round log fires, warming their bodies. Unoka loved it all, and he loved the first kites that returned with the dry season, and the children who sang songs of welcome to them. He would remember his own childhood, how he had often wandered around looking for a kite sailing leisurely against the blue sky. As soon as he found one he would sing with his whole being, welcoming it back from its long, long journey, and asking it if it had brought home any lengths of cloth.

That was years ago, when he was young. Unoka, the grown-up, was a failure. He was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat. People laughed at him because he was a loafer, and they swore never to lend him any more money because he never paid back. But Unoka was such a man that he always succeeded in borrowing more, and piling up his debts.

One day a neighbor called Okoye came in to see him. He was reclining on a mud bed in his hut playing on the flute. He immediately rose and shook hands with Okoye, who then unrolled the goatskin which he carried under his arm, and sat down. Unoka went into an inner room and soon returned with a small wooden disc containing a kola nut, some alligator pepper and a lump of white chalk.

"I have kola," he announced when he sat down, and passed the disc over to his guest.

"Thank you. He who brings kola brings life. But I think you ought to break it," replied Okoye, passing back the disc.

"No, it is for you, I think," and they argued like this for a few moments before Unoka accepted the honor of breaking the kola. Okoye, meanwhile, took the lump of chalk, drew some lines on the floor, and then painted his big toe.

As he broke the kola, Unoka prayed to their ancestors for life and health, and for protection against their enemies. When they had eaten they talked about many things: about the heavy rains which were drowning the yams, about the next ancestral feast and about the impending war with the village of Mbaino. Unoka was never happy when it came to wars. He was in fact a coward and could not bear the sight of blood. And so he changed the subject and talked about music, and his face beamed. He could hear in his mind's ear the blood-stirring and intricate rhythms of the ekwe and the udu and the ogene, and he could hear his own flute weaving in and out of them, decorating them with a colorful and plaintive tune. The total effect was gay and brisk, but if one picked out the flute as it went up and down and then broke up into short snatches, one saw that there was sorrow and grief there.

Okoye was also a musician. He played on the ogene. But he was not a failure like Unoka. He had a large barn full of yams and he had three wives. And now he was going to take the Idemili title, the third highest in the land. It was a very expensive ceremony and he was gathering all his resources together. That was in fact the reason why he had come to see Unoka. He cleared his throat and began:

"Thank you for the kola. You may have heard of the title I intend to take shortly."

Having spoken plainly so far, Okoye said the next half a dozen sentences in proverbs. Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten. Okoye was a great talker and he spoke for a long time, skirting round the subject and then hitting it finally. In short, he was asking Unoka to return the two hundred cowries he had borrowed from him more than two years before. As soon as Unoka understood what his friend was driving at, he burst out laughing. He laughed loud and long and his voice rang out clear as the ogene, and tears stood in his eyes. His visitor was amazed, and sat speechless. At the end, Unoka was able to give an answer between fresh outbursts of mirth.

"Look at that wall," he said, pointing at the far wall of his hut, which was rubbed with red earth so that it shone. "Look at those lines of chalk;" and Okoye saw groups of short perpendicular lines drawn in chalk. There were five groups, and the smallest group had ten lines. Unoka had a sense of the dramatic and so he allowed a pause, in which he took a pinch of snuff and sneezed noisily, and then he continued: "Each group there represents a debt to someone, and each stroke is one hundred cowries. You see, I owe that man a thousand cowries. But he has not come to wake me up in the morning for it. I shall pay, you, but not today. Our elders say that the sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them. I shall pay my big debts first." And he took another pinch of snuff, as if that was paying the big debts first. Okoye rolled his goatskin and departed.

When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt. Any wonder then that his son Okonkwo was ashamed of him? Fortunately, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father. Okonkwo was clearly cut out for great things. He was still young but he had won fame as the greatest wrestler in the nine villages. He was a wealthy farmer and had two barns full of yams, and had just married his third wife. To crown it all he had taken two titles and had shown incredible prowess in two inter-tribal wars. And so although Okonkwo was still young, he was already one of the greatest men of his time. Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings. Okonkwo had clearly washed his hands and so he ate with kings and elders. And that was how he came to look after the doomed lad who was sacrificed to the village of Umuofia by their neighbors to avoid war and bloodshed. The ill-fated lad was called Ikemefuna.

Chapter Two

Okonkwo had just blown out the palm-oil lamp and stretched himself on his bamboo bed when he heard the ogene of the town crier piercing the still night air. Gome, gome, gome, gome, boomed the hollow metal. Then the crier gave his message, and at the end of it beat his instrument again. And this was the message. Every man of Umuofia was asked to gather at the market place tomorrow morning. Okonkwo wondered what was amiss, for he knew certainly that something was amiss. He had discerned a clear overtone of tragedy in the crier's voice, and even now he could still hear it as it grew dimmer and dimmer in the distance.

The night was very quiet. It was always quiet except on moonlight nights. Darkness held a vague terror for these people, even the bravest among them. Children were warned not to whistle at night for fear of evil spirits. Dangerous animals became even more sinister and uncanny in the dark. A snake was never called by its name at night, because it would hear. It was called a string. And so on this particular night as the crier's voice was gradually swallowed up in the distance, silence returned to the world, a vibrant silence made more intense by the universal trill of a million million forest insects.

On a moonlight night it would be different. The happy voices of children playing in open fields would then be heard. And perhaps those not so young would be playing in pairs in less open places, and old men and women would remember their youth. As the Ibo say: "When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk."

But this particular night was dark and silent. And in all the nine villages of Umuofia a town crier with his ogene asked every man to be present tomorrow morning. Okonkwo on his bamboo bed tried to figure out the nature of the emergency--war with a neighboring clan? That seemed the most likely reason, and he was not afraid of war. He was a man of action, a man of war. Unlike his father he could stand the look of blood. In Umuofia's latest war he was the first to bring home a human head. That was his fifth head; and he was not an old man yet. On great occasions such as the funeral of a village celebrity he drank his palm-wine from his first human head.

In the morning the market place was full. There must have been about ten thousand men there, all talking in low voices. At last Ogbuefi Ezeugo stood up in the midst of them and bellowed four times, "Umuofia kwenu", and on each occasion he faced a different direction and seemed to push the air with a clenched fist. And ten thousand men answered "Yaal" each time. Then there was perfect silence. Ogbuefi Ezeugo was a powerful orator and was always chosen to speak on such occasions. He moved his hand over his white head and stroked his white beard. He then adjusted his cloth, which was passed under his right arm-pit and tied above his left shoulder.

"Umuofia kwenu", he bellowed a fifth time, and the crowd yelled in answer. And then suddenly like one possessed he shot out his left hand and pointed in the direction of Mbaino, and said through gleaming white teeth firmly clenched: "Those sons of wild animals have dared to murder a daughter of Umuofia." He threw his head down and gnashed his teeth, and allowed a murmur of suppressed anger to sweep the crowd. When he began again, the anger on his face was gone and in its place a sort of smile hovered, more terrible and more sinister than the anger. And in a clear unemotional voice he told Umuofia how their daughter had gone to market at Mbaino and had been killed. That woman, said Ezeugo, was the wife of Ogbuefi Udo, and he pointed to a man who sat near him with a bowed head. The crowd then shouted with anger and thirst for blood.

Many others spoke, and at the end it was decided to follow the normal course of action. An ultimatum was immediately dispatched to Mbaino asking them to choose between war on the one hand, and on the other the offer of a young man and a virgin as compensation.

Umuofia was feared by all its neighbors. It was powerful in war and in magic, and its priests and medicine men were feared in all the surrounding country. Its most potent war-medicine was as old as the clan itself. Nobody knew how old. But on one point there was general agreement--the active principle in that medicine had been an old woman with one leg. In fact, the medicine itself was called agadi-nwayi, or old woman. It had its shrine in the centre of Umuofia, in a cleared spot. And if anybody was so foolhardy as to pass by the shrine after dusk he was sure to see the old woman hopping about.

What People are Saying About This

Nadine Gordimer
[Achebe is] gloriously gifted, with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent.

Meet the Author

Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. His first novel, Things Falls Apart, became a classic of international literature and required reading for students worldwide. He also authored four subsequent novels, two short-story collections, and numerous other books. He was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and, for over 15 years, was the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. In 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement. He died in 2013.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Things Fall Apart (African Writers Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 408 reviews.
Wordzmind More than 1 year ago
Things Fall Apart is incredible. Not only is it a story of the encroaching British civilization and how the villagers adapt or do not adapt to the changing ways, Things Fall Apart is about the inner workings of a family. Father and son are very different and very similair at the same time. The father is old school while the son embraces the new way. What is intriguing is the society that is portrayed; a society that is male dominant. However the priestess is not to be disobeyed. Things Fall Apart would make a good reading for students.
Derp More than 1 year ago
Things Fall Apart is a fine book in all of its aspects, it follows the story of Okonkwo and how he thinks he must, ironically, prove how strong he is by showing that he does not care. It certainly does a nice job of connecting you to the character, you actually care about what the protagonist is doing, but I just could not find any way that this could connect to my own life and that is what I believe this book was trying to accomplish. If the objective wasn't to have you relate to the main character than it was to show how religious differences can cause conflict. The story follows Okonkwo as he seems to go through a life that wants to make him as miserable as possible. One of the cruelest jokes in my opinion was when Okonkwo was finally beginning to care for someone they are tragically killed and Okonkwo has to witness and take part in his death. This is the point where I start to feel distanced from the main character. Of course you can try to connect to the villagers in the area that Okonkwo is in, but I could not do that either as I found no relevance to my life and the tribal groups. What I do like is that the author actually cares about the side characters and everyone has their own unique personality and character trait, making them actually seem like they are real. I also like the way that the author presents the story, the story has a nice pacing to it and does not seem like it is just filler and is slogging to the end, but the story does not also seem like it has to cram as much energy and action as it possibly could. That is the kind of format I like my books to be in. What I dislike is why the author felt the need that the reader should have reasons to dislike the main character (because the author could not seriously expect us to connect to a man like Okonkwo). The major message of this story seems to be not to blindly follow what "the rest of the guys" are doing. The author seems to stress this by having Okonkwo have something horrible happen to him every time he listens to his clan. This book certainly does have appeal but the book is just not for me. I would still recommend the book to others however because it seems that people either love the book to death or believe that the book was nothing special.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Classic fiction by one of Africas best authors
kelsey dubose More than 1 year ago
The book was good. i did not think that i would like it. Only reason i might have thought that was because i had to read it for school. So it was kind of forced on me but then i realy got into the book i wanted to se what happens to him and i really started to like reading about their native ways. And that is what i think made the book so good was that it had someting that a lot of books that i read do not have and that is why i think this book is a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book about changes and about the clashes of cultures. It was well written, had a very good plot, and I think that Okonkwo's character led to his responses to all the things that happened in his life, things he could not change if he wanted to, almost like he was cornered and lashing out to preserve whatever values he had towards his culture and family. Also, I had to re-read a couple pages to get who was who, but foreign names is really a shallow factor in deciding whether or not a book is worth reading. If you start a book with that kind of mentality, no wonder you can't get the point, you don't really even want to understand it even a little. That's the entire point of the references in the back, to help you understand what is going on. If you are willing to reread some parts, learn quite a bit about previous cultures, and be open to deeper meanings, this classic book is recommended for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story that makes you rethink your stances on religious issues
Lucas Tometich More than 1 year ago
changes the way you look at certain things in life!! favorite book ever!!!
mc76NYC More than 1 year ago
An interesting reflection on the culture and life of the people of Nigerian through the prism of this work of fiction. Though not always an easy read, it is informative and most worthy of read because ultimately it helps us to understand another people and their life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'Things Fall Apart' was unlike any book I have ever read. The plot, country, and characters were totally original, at least comparing those from previous reads. The setting of the book is in Nigeria and from what I understood, the time frame was around the slave trade period. Chinua Achebe has a vivid imagination and has a gift for transitioning what is in his head into document and making it seem realistic. I found interest in reading this book from my grandma and mother. Plus, my mom was making me read the required books to have been read for a city nearby, this just so happened to be on the list. In a way, I was forced to read it, but at the same time I was looking for new genres of novels and unique book selections. The novel starts out with the history of a tribal man and how he was doomed for failure through his personal chi -or god-. The man's name was Onkonwo and his father was considered a woman. This was because he had gained no title in life and therefore had not 'become a man'. Unoka, in fact, was a coward and a loafer. He was a poor man leaving his wife and children hardly enough to eat. People mocked him and swore they would not dare lend him any more money. However, Unoka always succeeded in borrowing more, along with piling up his debts. Unoka died, before he could pay back any of his debts and leaving Onkonkwo to feed his family. On the other hand, Onkonkwo had already accomplished more than his father when Unoka died. He was known for his wrestling skills and was gaining the trust from neighbors to spare him two barns worth of seed yams. In his life, Onkonkwo gained the privilage of having 3 wives and 2 out of 4 titles. Sadly, at the end of Part One Onkonkwo was forced to leave his clan and travel to the land of Mbanta, where the kinsmen of his mother lived. This leads to his new life and the beginning of Part Two of the book. I do believe that it's unique how 'Things Fall Apart' is split into two intertwining stories telling about Onkonkwo's troubles and trials he has to face. The first describes the clash between individual and society gains. The other describes the conflict between tribes and how European missionaries destroy Onkonkwo's tribal world from the inside out. I believe that this book gets slow at many parts. My reasoning simply is: Achebe describes certain parts too much and then whips back to the plot, not describing the parts that spark some interest. The plot is all over and used terms that are foreign and at times un able to comprehend. I have heard many times that it is hard to follow and readers stop reading. Over all, I think this book was an okay read if you have nothing else to read and you like novels with cultural themes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Things Fall Apart was a great novel to read. This book is about major changes not only happening to one man and his life, but also the village that he lives in. The main character, Okonkwo, is a very determined man that tries to basically do the opposite of his father, which includes being masculine in everything he does and trying to make his son do the same. His father was a scared, lazy man in the village who did virtually nothing productive for himself, his family, or the village. In Things Fall Apart, there is African culture on the verge of change after some newcomers arrive in the village. This book raises the question of whether to accept the new changes or stick to the same old tradition in African culture. Likes/Dislikes - I liked the ironic situations in the book that mixed things up and suprised me a bit. - I disliked that the story did not have a real plot to read about. I feel like it was more of a documentary of African culture. I do recommend this novel to read. This is not only a great way to learn about some of African culture, it is overall a great book to read with ironic situations occuring throughout the book.
readersreader More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book as required reading for a class I am teaching. The basic story line is easy to understand, but the themes are excellent for discussing in a Senior High School Level class.
davidbuckholtz-eenglish More than 1 year ago
David Buckholtz 1/27/10 English 3 Homework Book Review The modern tragedy of Okonkwo who is a Igbo farmer who has been born out of a confusing family by his athletic talents and hard work. His entire life is motivated by a fear of failure, failing like his poor father. The reason why he put so much pressure on his famlily. Okonkwo stated that "Will you give Ezinma some fire to bring to me?" ... often called her Ezigbo, which means "the good one." (5.30-34). Tragic events build each other causing the arrival of white men and the irreversible change of Okonkwo's world. This story is about the life of Okonkwo, an up and coming leader of an Igbo village in Africa. He is willing to do anything to maintain his social status, no matter the suffering that it causes himself and those around him. Everything that Okonkwo holds dear becomes threatened after an accidental shooting. Okonkwo must flee with his family from his beloved village for seven years, losing the life that he worked so hard to gain. He gets through his seven years of exile only to go back home and discover that everything has changed. White missionaries have come to convert Africa to their ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Things Fall Apart is a great novel written by Chinua Achebe. This book is about a Nigerian warrior, clansman, farmer, and family provider extraordinaire named Okonkwo from the Umufia clan. It is known to be the lowest clan among nine villages. He is the son of the desist Unoka, who has left him many debts to deal with. Okonkwo is married to several wives Ekwefi and Ojiugo, and has a son named Nwoye, and daughter Ezinma to name a few. Okonkwo's tribe wins a boy from another tribe named Ikemefuna, after claiming him as a son for years Okonkwo is told to kill the boy. This has a big affect on Okonkwo. Okonkwo is one the main characters in the book. He known is very bold, violent, strong. The reason for this is because Okonkwo wanted to be the complete opposite from his father. His father was a cowardly type man, and was known as gentle. He wanted to be better than his father. Ogbuefi Ezeudu is the villages' oldest man. He is described as very wise. This is because he is old, old people known more and has experienced more. He was known to be a good warrior of his time. He warns Okonkwo about Ikemefuna, and tells him to kill Ikemefuna. Another character that is brave is confident, and brave is Ezinma. The reason that she is this way is because she the way she stands up to her father. She tends to approach her father in a masculine manner. "Does the white man understand our custom about land?" "How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us?' This is a conversation between Obierika and Okonkwo, This is discussing the arrival of the white taking over their village. This quote is important because it talks about the purpose of the village falling apart. Also this is the main idea of the novel. It is like the conflict of the novel. This quote gives you an idea of what the storyline maybe like. I believe that this is a good book because it shows you the way that people in Africa were living. This shows how they have to deal with outsiders. It shows how back in that time how Europeans invaded African villages and try to convert people all over Africa. This book was written very well. I thought it was bad that the take an enemy's child a there's and raise them. I thought it was weird how people of the village wee actually converting, and this was shown as being weak. Overall this is a great book, it really captures how they lived in the Nigerian villages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was cleverly written. The omniscient point of view gave the reader a chance to understand what was going on outside of the main character and sometimes gave an inside look at the minds of the characters that were not the main focus. The development of the book gave subtle hints of the not so shocking (to me at least) ending. I greatly enjoyed reading the book and I hope that others have an opportunity to pick it up as well.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Things Fall Apart is a historical novel that was written Chinua Achebe in 1959. The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, a member of the Ibo tribe in Africa. Okonkwo was the son of a man named Unoka, who was considered a failure. Unoka was lazy and lacked the qualities that made a strong man. Due to the lack of wealth that his father had, Okonkwo was forced to build his wealth from the ground up. Okonkwo was a person of power in the tribe due to the large farm and family he built over time. Okonkwo was forced to leave the clan for 7 years when his gun accidentally detonated during a party, and killed a young boy. Okonkwo honored his punishment and spent 7 years away from the tribe. During this time white missionaries arrived in the area and began to integrate into the tribes. The missionaries began by building churches in the tribes and slowly converting the people of the tribe to Christianity. When Okonkwo returned to his village, Umuofia, he was shocked to see that the missionaries had started to take over the clan. The missionaries implemented a legal system that prevented the villagers from harming the Christians. The village planned a meeting to decide on a plan of action. Okonkwo was filled with hate because of the way the Christians had to tried to change his tribe. During the meeting a group of Christians arrived to break up the meeting. Okonkwo was controlled by his hate, and without even thinking he killed one of the Christians with a machete. Okonkwo knew that the Christian’s legal system would destroy the remainder of his life. Okonkwo decided that the only solution was to kill himself. Okonkwo killed himself to escape the wrath of the Christian legal system. His death marked the end of the small revolution the village had against the Christians. This novel did an excellent job of shedding new light on white expeditions to spread Christianity. I failed to realize the turmoil and destruction that these expeditions caused. I never realized that although the expeditioners might have brought new technologies, they were destroying the lives of the native people. Although the Christians brought prosperity to the Ibo tribe, it still destroyed their previous way of life. I would highly suggest that everyone reads this book. Things Fall Apart is one of those books that helps the reader develop a deeper understanding for the world that we live in. This novel personalizes the facts, and stories, that we learn in history class. It demonstrates the effects of Christian conquests . Also, a cultural appreciation can be gained through reading this novel. Besides the historical implications, this novel gives the reader an understanding of the type of culture that the villages had. Although the cultures were starkly different to our own, learning about them is very intriguing. The difference in culture explains why the villagers weren’t willing to throw themselves at Christianity. Converting to Christianity meant stripping away the religion that they had lived with all of their life, which justifies why the villagers were frustrated with the Christians that were trying to convert them. I highly suggest this novel to everyone, because it helps illustrate the effects of the Christian conquests, and the Ibo culture.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Book Review: Things Fall Apart Things Fall Apart by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe is a novel written in 1958. This takes place in the Igbo community of Umuofia in Eastern Nigeria. It all revolves around the life of Okonkwo. Okonkwo is respected and an influential leader within the Igbo community. Okonkwo gains personal fame and brings honor to his village when he defeats Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest. After winning more wrestling contests, Okonkwo becomes more powerful and a wealthy man in spite of his father’s weaknesses. His father Unoka was a lazy and wasteful man. He would ask for loans of money and then waste it on bars and with his friends. Over the years, Okonkwo becomes more of an extremely volatile ma. He is opt to explode with the slightest thing. He violated rules within his village when he beats his youngest wife Ojiugo because she went to braid her hair at her friend’s house and forgot to prepare the afternoon meal and feed her children. He later severely beats and shoots a gun at his second wife Ekwefi because she took leaves from his banana plant. Okonkwo later starts to feel depressed due to all of the stress that he has had around the village and the things he had to do to sacrifice his village in order for the village to stay strong. At a funeral of a clan leader Okonkwo’s gun goes off and accidentally kills a 16 year old in the village. Killing a clansman from your village is an act of crime against the Earth Goddess, so Okonkwo and his family must be exiled from Umuofia for seven years. So Okonkwo and his family move to his mother’s native village, Mbanta. A group of mean from that village kill his animals in order to clean the sin that Okonkwo committed. My reaction to this novel was that it was a powerful reading for me with how much intensity there was and how much emotion there was within the reading. You get to read about how different cultures do their own routine. I recommend you read this novel due to the intensity and energy that the author gives and how much detail is put into each page.
Anonymous 10 months ago
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
Some parts were interesting but sometimes I had trouble staying focused.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thus book sucks
PrincessicaOfBooks More than 1 year ago
It's not the fact that it is a required read so I automatically disliked it. Though I dread reading required reads, I know that some turn out to be quite well. I dislike Things Fall Apart because it was just poor writing. Because this is meant to be a mini review, here is a list of things I disliked: -Though Okonkwo is suppose to be a "tragic hero" I have no sympathy for him. He is a cruel coward who doesn't deserve any happiness given to him. In result, I was not sad when it ended. -Tying in to Okonkwo being a cruel coward, I didn't have any connection with any of the characters. Nwoye and Ezinma, his son and daughter, are cool, I guess, but even then I don't fully connect with them. -Again with the characters-- Okonkwo is a static character. Though this story revolves around him, he does not change through it all. Even after he journeys into his mother land and taught new ideas, he still goes back to his old ways. Thinking about this, this might just make a tragic hero... barely. -No plot development until the end! Seriously, it's just a series of short stories and flashbacks up until the end. At the end, things start changing. I wish Achebe introduced the conflict sooner. With no plot development, I found myself bored. -Horrible view on gender roles. I get that it's part of their culture, but I was absolutely disgusted by it. However, I don't blame Achebe for this one. -With the embedding of flashbacks combined with the strange names and the proverbs (THE FREAKING PROVERBS!), the writing style is way too symbolic and confusing. Several of my friends and I often questioned, "Wait, was that a flashback? That wasn't? Ok, but what does this proverb even mean? No but really, who picks these required reading list??" Things I did like: -Learn more about the Ibo culture, from an author who is from Africa. I really like this actually! It shows how different all of us are and our different customs. The fact that the author himself is African gives more credit to his name and his story. -The funny use of irony! It actually made me chuckle at times because of how contradicting the characters/culture is. Not in a bad way, but a funny and enjoyable way. -The juxtaposition of Nwoye and Okonkwo. Though a small reason, it ties in with the funny use of irony. In other words, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a great and quick book for learning more about different cultures and the both positive and negative resultants of cultural collisions. Despite it being short, it dragged on a lot and if it wasn't for school I would probably DNF this one. At the end of the day, I still question who puts together these reading lists. How much do I recommend it? Don't read it unless you have to. Rating: ★★½ out of 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In “Things Fall Apart”, by Chinua Achebe, the main character Okonkwo experiences change through the Ibo culture. Okonkwo’s biggest fear is failure and weakness. The major themes of the novel include: masculinity, femininity, power of fear, and change. Okonkwo hoped that his children would be masculine; he thinks his son Nwoye is weak, and his favorite daughter is more masculine, however he wishes she were a boy. In the Ibo culture, being feminine is weak. With that being said, it goes against Okonkwo’s beliefs. Okonkwo deals with a great amount of fear, because he wants to be more of a warrior and not lazy and irresponsible like his father Unoka, who had died with no titles and unpaid debts. The Ibo culture evolved when the missionaries came to Umuofia, because they enjoyed the new ideas to the community. The overall purpose of the novel is that change is going to happen no matter what, and you will have to learn how to deal with it. I learned that new things gradually happen, which will make a difference. Change cannot be prevented, because if there were no change, things would be the same. Change is unique and is always a part of life. I enjoyed reading this novel, because I learned a lot of life lessons through Okonkwo’s experiences. I think that this is an awesome novel to read as a senior in High School, because as we go into the “real” world, we will understand the difficulties of change. - Juliette H.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book but the ending was unexpected
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school and I had a hard time getting through it. Even though Okonkwo was not supposed to be likable, he made the whole book boring. If I didn't read it for school, I would not have finished it. I did however find the sparknotes very helpful.
PPoperah More than 1 year ago
I appreciate this novel in showing the Igbo people as their own microcosm, and not as they have been in other works of literature as "savage" or naive people who know nothing beyond their huts. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time. This was also mandatory class reading, and as a High School Senior I appreciate this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so impressed with how easy and insightful a read this was. The culture and events were so alien to me that I was surprised by everything that happened from beginning to end, no matter how simply it was stated. Definitely in my favs.